McCain: A Climate Disaster

First read this article from the New York Times, McCain Differs With Bush on Climate Change. One thing is clear from this article, all of the remaining candidates want to reduce carbon emissions.

However, what is not clear from this is the magnitude of their differences on the point. Take the following paragraph that I believe to be very poorly written on the part of an otherwise fairly good news source.

In his speech, Mr. McCain advocated cutting emissions 60 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050; Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama propose cutting them by 80 percent in the same time frame while the Lieberman-Warner bills calls for a 70 percent reduction. Scientists say reductions of that magnitude are needed to slow and then reverse production of the gases, chiefly carbon dioxide, which are heating the atmosphere and causing long-term climate changes.

This last sentence is patently false. Scientists say that a reduction of emissions to 80% below 1990 levels is required to avert catastrophic warming and to avoid a tipping point. The planet will not negotiate on politics. So, let’s see just how different are 60%, 70%, and 80% reductions?

McCain advocates 60%. Is that close enough? Well, let’s see. 80% leaves 20% of 1990 emissions being emitted. 60% leaves 40% of 1990 emissions being emitted. Since 40 is twice 20, that means that McCain’s plan is for double the amount of CO2 recommended by science as the amount by which we must reduce CO2 in order to avert catastrophe. This means that McCain’s plan is, by the best available science, a guarantee of catastrophe.

Even the Lieberman-Warner bill only reduces by 70%. What does that mean for the climate? Well, it would leave 30% of 1990 emissions still being emitted actively in 2050. 30 is 50% more than 20, leaving us with 50% more than what the best available science to date dictates as a maximum to avoid catastrophe. Therefore, it too is a recipe for disaster.

We must keep ourselves focused on the science in making such decisions and in voting this November.

Please remember too that the conservative estimate is that by 2050, there will be a billion climate refugees and a total world population of eight billion. As you vote this November, think about whether you believe that the world economy can actually sustain a billion homeless people.

Will the global economy collapse in trying to provide humanitarian aid to an eighth of the total population?

Do you think there is some more important issue than this?

Please vote for a healthy biospehere!


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